Many young inmates struggle to find work and get ahead once they are released from prison. Without a source of income, many ex-prisoners have trouble finding housing. The stress of unemployment also puts people at higher risk of alcohol and drug abuse, particularly for those who already have a history of drug problems. M’Lop Tapang is committed to helping young offenders when they are released for prison and provide them with opportunities for moving ahead with their lives in a positive way.
When he was 15 years old, Ravuth’s* parents divorced and he moved with his mother and four siblings from the countryside to Sihanoukville. After the move he continued to go to school for a couple of years but dropped out in Grade 7 as his mother could no longer afford to send him to study.
When he was old enough, Ravuth started to work in one of the local textile factories. In his 20s he started to also sell drugs to make more money. In 2015 he was arrested and sent to prison for one year. That is where the M’Lop Tapang team first met him.
M’Lop Tapang’s Drug and Harm Reduction Team has been visiting young inmates in the local prisons since 2010, providing support, encouragement, and training as part of a relapse prevention program. When he was released from prison earlier this year, Ravuth met with our “Futures” team who assessed and worked with him to find suitable employment. In February, with the help of the Futures team, Ravuth began working for a local company sell beauty and hygiene products. He is starting with a salary of $100/month but also includes three meals/day and a place to stay.
Our teams will be following up with Ravuth and his employer regularly but are very proud of this young man and his determination to start fresh and work towards building a better future for himself.
Learn more about the Futures program and how it is helping young people and parents connect to employment opportunities: http://mloptapang.org/projects/futures-office/
*name and photo changed for confidentiality